What we’re reading on governance & conflict – COVID-19 edition, 27th March

(Image courtesy of Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash)

My colleague Alisha and I are pausing the normal ‘What we’re reading’ email in order to focus on emerging thinking on Covid-19 and the potential implications for governance and conflict. The structure for this is slightly different to reflect the pace we’re working at – just a link and a one sentence description. DFID-funded research teams designated with a 🌟.

Part of the rationale for this is to support the work of colleagues having to move at pace to support the Covid-19 efforts and to help ensure that all of the work we do is as well-informed as possible. Both the evidence base and history have taught us that not taking social and political factors into account as we design and implement interventions can lead to negative unintended consequences and even harm.

Stay safe, everyone.

Threads/News/Blogs/Thought pieces/Research

 OECD, States of Fragility statistics on Covid-19 response

Very useful platform for fragility related covid-19 statistics from 58 countries.

 IDS,  Covid-19 – a social phenomenon requiring diverse expertise 🌟

Drawing on their experiences with ebola, IDS researchers explain why a multidisciplinary response is needed.

Christine Bell, Covid-19 and violent conflict: responding to predictable unpredictability 🌟

11 key baseline understandings need to design conflict-aware Covid-19 responses from the director of the RED-funded Political Settlements Research Programme

Nathan Alexander Sears, The securitization of Covid-19: three political dilemmas

Nathan questions whether the explosion in state power we’re seeing in many countries around the world is likely to pass once the threat from Covid-19 is past, or it will remain a feature well beyond.

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, Crime and contagion: the impact of a pandemic on organised crime

Something that’s keeping me up at night, the team at GI-TOC look at a number of ways in which SOC is likely to benefit from Covid-19.

 Nic Cheeseman, Thread on three different mechanisms we need to keep in mind with Covid-19 and democracy  

Nic draws out important mechanisms authoritarian-minded leaders might use to take advantage of Covid-19 in order to undermine democracy.

Vanessa van den Boogaard, Fill the gaps, feel the pain: insights from Sierra Leone on an epidemic’s impact on local taxation, public services and the poor 🌟

Analysis from the RED-funded International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) on how ebola impacted on local government revenue and services. Much to think about for us here. See also this ICTD twitter thread.

Mwanahamisi Singano, How to stop coronavirus lockdown leading to an upsurge of violence against women

This guest blog for FP2P looks at the threats that many women will face as a result of lockdown, something that was flagged straight away by my Birmingham colleague, and researcher on VAWG and conflict, Sanne Weber, when we had our first Covid-19 brainstorm.

Paula Dupraz-Dobias, Beyond coronavirus: what’s keeping these aid workers up at night

It can be easy for anyone but our Humanitarian colleagues to forget that there are still many crises going on around the world, and this plea not to forget this – especially with a rising risk of ‘aid politicisation’ – is essential reading.

David Evans, How will Covid-19 affect women and girls in low- and middle-income countries?

This analysis from CGD sets out a huge range of ways in which Covid-19 will affect women and girls disproportionately.

International Crisis Group, Covid-19 and conflict: seven trends to watch

ICG raises seven points for concern about the political consequences of Covid-19 likely to affect conflict for years to come.

 Mohamed A El-Erian, The coming coronavirus recession

One of any number of pieces you can read about ‘the gathering storm’ including why global collective action is need.

George Ogala, Why Africa’s journalists aren’t doing a good job on Covid-19

Ogala on the important role of local media in Africa for information but how lack of agency, memories of stigma around HIV and other issues are stopping it from acting as effectively as it could (and must).

Sophie Harmon, Pandemics and health emergencies: a teach-in

Sophie is a leading international relations scholar who researches health security, and she provides a good overview of key issues here plus some key links from the Masters module she teaches on this.

Nicola Nixon, Sam Chittick & Jaime Faustino, Pivoting to respond to Covid-19: early thoughts from the Phiiippines

Nicola et al bring their Asia Foundation experience (as well as their recent work as DFAT and World Bank staff) to look at the role of politics, coalitions and agile programming in the Philippines.

Amanda Lichtenstein, Rosemary Ajayi & Nwachukwu Egbunike, Across Africa, Covid-19 heightens tension between religion and science

Guest blog for FP2P looking at on the ground experiences from Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia where religious practices are hindering effective health responses.

Cynthia Enloe, Covid-19: ‘waging war’ against a virus is not what we need to be doing

Legendary feminist scholar Enloe warns against the potential impacts of bringing militarised thinking into covid-19 interventions

Yuen Yuen Ang, When Covid-19 meets centralised, personalised power

Yuen Yuen is quick off the mark with this short piece of analysis to be published next month in Nature about China’s autocracy and the impact on the global spread of Covid-19.

Fiona Harvey, Coronavirus could cause global food shortage, UN warns

This story from the Guardian looks at the looming threat of global food shortages, something vulnerable people in the UK are already facing, with global political action clearly needed.

Thom Townsend & Paul May, Coronavirus crisis: why knowing beneficial owners in supply chains is fundamental for a good recovery

Looking at previous crises, Thom and Paul make a compelling case for not pressing pause on vital work on beneficial ownership, transparency and anti-corruption.

Robert Barrington, Bribery, black markets and the Covid-19 crisis

Sussex’s Robert Barrington on Covid-19 & likely rise of bribery and black market in the UK, something I also flagged as a potential threat with regard to a no-deal Brexit last year at the OECD Anti-Corruption & Integrity conference

BBC Africa Eye, Stealing from the sick

One from a previous edition, but incredibly relevant now as we think about health systems. This 53-minute long documentary shines a light on the world of medicine theft in Uganda, a terrible situation affecting the health of millions. It’s also a stark reminder of how dangerous an area this is for whistleblowers and investigative journalists. For more on this, see my paper on bribery reduction in Uganda’s health sector with Caryn Peiffer and Rosita Armytage, and bookmark this RED-funded research project led by Ryan Jablonski on medicine theft in Malawi using an innovative experimental approach. Very much looking forward to their findings when the research is done! (Heather Marquette)

Alex Broadbent & Benjamin TH Smart, Why a one-size-fits-all approach to Covid-19 could have lethal consequences

Scholars at the University of Johannesburg argue that policies like social distancing are likely to fail in African countries and what leaders should be thinking about.

Hannah Deviin, Men are much more likely to die from coronavirus, but why?

Devlin pulls out some of the scientific questions being grappled with right now, but this should also get us thinking much more about the gendered implications for post-Covid-19 too.

And because what happens in the US will affect us all, politically and economically…

Adam Harris, It’s not just the Presidential race adjusting to coronavirus  

A short piece in The Atlantic about the upcoming US election that has implications both for our work overseas as well as here in the UK. To read alongside Daron Acemoglu’s piece in Foreign Affairs on Coronavirus exposed America’s authoritarian turn.

Shadi Hamid, The coronavirus killed the revolution

Another piece on the US, this time from a Brookings Institute senior fellow, with wider implications.

Useful sites & twitter threads curating content to follow

Political Settlements Research Programme, Conflict, development and Covid-19 resources 🌟

IDS, Covid-19: the social science response to the pandemic 🌟

GI-TOC, Covid Crime Watch

Jorge Mantilla (UC-Chicago), Twitter thread curating pieces on Covid-19, conflict and crime

CGD, Coronavirus preparedness & response










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